Dotsero neighborhood growing again
• Dotsero was first a busy railroad junction where lines from Pueblo and Denver came together.
• The Dotsero volcano last erupted about 4,100 years ago.
• There are roughly 150 home lots still available at Two Rivers Village.
• Eagle County has already approved as many as 160 apartments at the Two Rivers site.
DOTSERO — The western end of the Vail Valley has for years been little more than a wide spot in the road. That may be changing.
There’s new vitality bubbling in the area, thanks in large part to strong demand for homes at the lower end of the market. Two Rivers Village, a 136-acre project that broke ground in 2002, has built homes in various bursts over the past dozen years or so, with about 115 homes built of the 276 approved for the area.
The project — primarily the clubhouse and the unsold lots — was sold in a foreclosure sale in 2013. Mike Pearson of the Vail Valley branch of NAI Mountain Commercial real estate was supposed to help the new buyers re-sell the property. A life-long valley resident, Pearson took a long look at the project, saw an opportunity and soon became a partner in the venture.
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“I saw how quickly homes trade there,” Pearson said.
Project Takes Flight
Starting early this year, the new owners have cleaned up the property, re-opened and renovated the community center and started marketing homes. They’ve also started selling homes. So far this year, three homes have been sold, with another 16 units under contract. As many as 30 homes could be built next year.
Those single-family homes are priced between about $225,000 and $350,000. In the current vernacular, the homes are “system built,” meaning that homes are built in a factory, then shipped to building sites in big pieces.
Chad Cremonese, the on-site broker at Two Rivers Village, said several of the homes under contract now are being purchased by Two Rivers residents who are renting or interested in upgrading. Other buyers come from the Vail Valley or even Glenwood Springs. Glenwood is just 18.5 miles away — it’s 33 miles to Avon.
See the potential of Dotsero
While much of the building at Two Rivers has come in bursts over the years, Pearson said he believes this building push will last. There’s very little home inventory priced at $350,000 or less in the valley, and what is available is generally in the townhome or condo market.
Just east of Two Rivers, partners Max Vogelman and Jim Benson are still working on the Stoneyard Distillery. The distillery, which specializes in rum, has its tasting room up and running — although somewhat sporadically — and a stage is being put in on the property, a former stone quarry owned by the Vogelman family.
Vogelman lives at Dotsero — actually, his home there burned down in March, and he’s rebuilding now. With that view of the Dotsero area, Vogelman said he hopes new homes and a new business could give the area a boost.
“I think it’s kind of the best-kept secret in the valley — especially in the summer,” Vogelman said. “I’ve been living here, and I quite like it.”
Vogelman said he thinks Dotsero could grow “as people see the potential of the place.”
Lack of Services
While homes are being built and the Stoneyard partners have big plans and high hopes for their distillery, there’s still much to do before Dotsero can truly be called thriving.
Eagle County’s ECO bus service used to have a stop at Two Rivers, but that service fell victim to budget cuts. Pearson said he’d like officials to reconsider that decision as the population grows at Two Rivers.
Then there’s the fact that Gypsum is the closest place to buy anything from fuel to food.
There are a couple of parcels zoned for commercial building such as convenience stores. One of those parcels is at Two Rivers, but Pearson said it’s going to be some time before any concrete plans are proposed to Eagle County officials.
“I’ve always been shocked there isn’t a gas station here,” Vogelman said. “But I’m kind of glad there isn’t — I like the fact it’s quiet.”
Demand May Rise
But demand may rise, both from residents and the fact that a lot of river recreation happens along both the Eagle and Colorado rivers within shouting distance of Interstate 70.
Bob Mayne has for decades owned Mayne Block in Dotsero. Mayne said any growth in Dotsero will depend on what happens at Two Rivers. But, given the market, more growth may be coming.
“With the way the rents and (home) prices are here, people have to live somewhere,” Mayne said.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, email@example.com or @scottnmiller.
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